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Great Gatsby

Submitted by on April 26, 2013 – 7:08 pmNo Comment

southcarolina_aiken_willcox-hotel Special to Road Trips for Foodies

The Great Gatsby is “roaring” into theaters next month, and all across the country, is evoking memories of one of the most intriguing eras in history – nowhere more than in the small town of Aiken, South Carolina, with its direct connection to the literary classic.

In high society, the 1920s was a decade of exuberance and excess – and the unassuming town of Aiken sparkled with a wealth of New York winter transplants like the Vanderbilts, Astors, and Rockefellers. Another, Evalyn Walsh McLean, could be seen all over town wearing that most famous stone, The Hope Diamond.

The Hitchcocks were a highly regarded family in Aiken; it was Mrs. Hitchcock, in particular, whose commanding and persuasive demeanor drew the New York elite to Aiken as “Winter Colony” residents. Mrs. Hitchcock was known for arranging grand dinners and soirées at the glamorous institution she helped establish – The Willcox hotel.

Her son, Tommy Hitchcock, still widely considered one of the greatest polo players of all time, befriended novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, who ran in the same social circles. It is documented that Hitchcock was the inspiration for Tom Buchanan, a central character in Fitzgerald’s third novel, The Great Gatsby.

From Friday, May 1, 2013, to Sunday, May 31, 2013, The Willcox, 100 Colleton Avenue SW, Aiken, South Carolina (map), will be tipping its hat to this pivotal era as it slips into an establishment of hidden distinction with a speakeasy sub-culture. Unofficial offerings include Gatsby-inspired Cocktails; a nightly “cat’s meow” Three-course Tasting Menu in The Restaurant; and “wah-wah” early Jazz Thursday and Sunday Night Soirées, influenced by a beloved musician of the era, Aiken’s own James “Bubber” Miley, who was Duke Ellington’s trumpeter.

Retire to your guest room and discover the “Juice Joint” East Egg cocktail amenity secretly placed in each room, featuring two spiff flasks – one of gin and one of lime juice, and old fashioned soda water so guests can create their own cocktails – without having to use the bathtub!

Make a night of it at The Willcox with this whole kit and caboodle of a package. Enjoy a Continental Breakfast before taking Gatsby on-the-go with your own copy of The Great Gatsby along with a personal Deck of Cards and Poker Chips. Guests will get a dapper deal each night at $165 per person.

The “On the Level” Details:

Copasetic Cocktails:
A selection of Jay Gatsby approved drams including The Gatsby with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, house-made Orange Bitters, and garnished with Candied Cherries; Daisy Fay made with Champagne and house-made Blackberry and Orange Simple Syrup; East Egg featuring Gin with house-made Mint Reduction and Lime; and the West Egg made with Rum with a house-made Mint Reduction and Lime.

Flapper Fare:
The Restaurant at The Willcox will feature a 1920s inspired nightly Three-course Tasting Menu where you begin with a delicate starter graced with edible daises. Full meal is $50 per person (excluding tax and gratuity.)

Swanky Thursday and Sunday Night Soirées:
A night spent wining and dining in true Gatsby fashion with rhapsody style jazz music, casual, elegant dining from The Restaurant, and Roaring Twenties style cocktails.

Beat-it Breakfast:
Get your day started with fresh baked goods and an Egg-a-licious egg cooked soft, medium, or hard, right before you have to scram.

Everything’s Ducky Detox:
Invigorate the senses and relax the mind with a trip to The Willcox’s spa for this 3.5 hour treatment where you’ll feel renewed with Nourishing Sea Mud Therapy, the Willcox Signature Massage, and a skin specific Facial for $260.

Since opening in 1898, The Willcox has endeared itself as Aiken’s glamorously southern, yet graciously comfortable retreat for travelers and residents alike – serving as “the living room of the community.” Indeed it is an institution that forever marries the polo-centric town of Aiken to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel.

(Photo courtesy of Willcox Hotel)

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